Ever since Call of Duty 2 launched to widespread critical acclaim as one of the Xbox 360′s most revered launch titles, Activision has continued to release a new entry in the series on a yearly basis. Call of Duty 3 launched the following year, developed by Treyarch, and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was released the year after that, completely changing the gaming industry in the process. From there, we had Treyarch and Infinity Ward taking turns developing each Call of Duty entry, with World at War coming from Treyarch, and Modern Warfare 2 being Infinity Ward’s next release.
Infinity Ward then ran into troubles, with much of the core designers and developers there jumping ship to Electronic Arts, where they formed the new studio, Respawn Entertainment, and are currently developing an unannounced science-fiction FPS. Meanwhile, Treyarch took the reigns as the lead Call of Duty developer, with Black Ops becoming one of the most successful video games not only in Call of Duty history, but in the history of the gaming business. The new Infinity Ward released Modern Warfare 3 in 2011, which was also met with critical acclaim and massive sales, though franchise fatigue has clearly started to settle in…
The point being that every single year, without fail, since 2005, there has been a new core Call of Duty game on store shelves in November. Activision has already confirmed that a new Call of Duty game will be released in 2012, presumably in November, and speculation is running wild about what exactly this Call of Duty game will be. Will it be Black Ops 2? Or does a recently released image and video point to the next Call of Duty game taking place in the future? Cheat Masters examines the facts and the evidence as we speculate on what’s next for Call of Duty.
As I pointed out in the introduction of this editorial, there is definitely a pattern in regards to the development cycle of a Call of Duty game. Usually when a series has an annual release schedule, there’s only one development team working on each installment. We see this with sports games such as Madden and the WWE games, but it can also spell certain death for other games, as shown with Activision’s own Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero games. By allowing a two year development cycle for each Call of Duty game, with studios alternating development duties, Activision is able to cash in big time, and also make sure that each entry is of quality.
The tradition has been for Infinity Ward and Treyarch to trade off each year. Since Infinity Ward released Modern Warfare 3 in 2011, it’s likely that Treyarch will be putting out the next game in the franchise in 2012. After the massive success of Black Ops, it wouldn’t be surprising if Activision decided to make Black Ops 2. Black Ops was more well-received overall than Modern Warfare 3, and actually added new modes and features to the series that gave it fresh appeal.
Black Ops 2 Evidence
There is plenty of evidence in favor of Black Ops 2. From premature product listings to job resumes, it is clear that there is a Black Ops 2. Whether or not it’s the next Call of Duty thing is up in the air, but I would say, without a doubt, that Black Ops 2 most certainly exists.
It all started in January of this year when Activision trademarked Black Ops 2. Now, trademarks aren’t full-proof evidence as publishers tend to trademark things just to keep other people from doing so, but it is still evidence. Still, there are more compelling reports that add more fuel to the Black Ops 2 fire.
In February of 2012, Amazon France posted a product listing for a Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. This product listing was taken down shortly after it was posted. Then a game designer named Hugo Beyer listed Black Ops 2 on his LinkedIn page, but that was also taken down. Also from France, the retailer Fnac also listed Black Ops 2 as an upcoming product, with a November release date touted.
The latest evidence towards Black Ops 2 was a leak from the Call of Duty website. The leak featured a Black Ops 2 logo, with a reveal promised for April 28th. This leak was removed, and since then, a poster was leaked by Kotaku that showed a reveal date of May 2nd. Activision has now claimed that a Call of Duty reveal is coming on May 1st, so don’t expect anything on the 28th.
Future Warfare Evidence
But what about the other suggested Call of Duty game that I’ve been talking about? Future Warfare? Well, there has also been evidence pointing that the next Call of Duty wouldn’t be modern, and wouldn’t be set in the past, but actually set in the future, with science fiction elements. This certainly would be in line with Activision’s claims that they are hoping to bring “meaningful innovation to the series.”
However, Future Warfare was just a pipe dream until new evidence that was released by the official Call of Duty website suggests that the next Call of Duty will indeed be set in the future. A teaser image was released on the site that showed a quadrotor drone equipped with a submachine gun. This technology will eventually be in the military incorporated into our military, but not for another ten years.
Along with the image is a video. The video shows the quadrotor drone in action. The host of the video stresses that the technology is still another decade off before being integrated into our military. However, he does making a passing remark, perhaps sarcastically, that “it could be in the next Call of Duty game.”
At this point, I think it’s nearly undeniable that Activision is working both Black Ops 2 and a Call of Duty game with futuristic tendencies. But which will be coming out this year, and which in 2013?
So, which is it?! Black Ops 2 or Future Warfare?
Let me throw my own personal theory your way. Instead of assuming that Activision has been hinting at either Black Ops 2 (remember, the original game was set during the Cold War) or a futuristic Call of Duty, what if the games are one in the same? What if Black Ops 2 is Future Warfare?
Just because the name carries the “Black Ops” label doesn’t mean it needs to be set in the same time frame as its predecessor. In fact, “Black Ops” doesn’t even really mean anything. All it refers to is “a kind of covert operation”. Because of this, the name, unlike the Modern Warfare subtitle, isn’t restricted to any specific time frame. My guess is that Black Ops 2 will be set in the future, but instead of being based around a traditional military conflict, it will have more espionage-oriented gameplay. Maybe a second Cold War has broken out, and Black Ops 2 will tell the story of that fictional conflict.
It just seems, to me, that Activision would be hinting towards two different Call of Duty games at once. For one, the Call of Duty that will be released in 2013 is still in the early stages of development. For two, there has been way too much evidence to discount that the next Call of Duty is indeed Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. From retail leaks to leaks by Activision themselves, Black Ops 2 is very likely the subtitle attached to the next Call of Duty game. For three, it’s Treyarch is up to bat, and with the immense success experienced with Black Ops, it’s ludicrous to think that they wouldn’t revisit that sub-brand of Call of Duty.
Check back to Cheat Masters on May 1st when we will have the latest on the next Call of Duty, and be sure to look for an upcoming Call of Duty 9 wishlist!